If you’ve taken steps to up the eco-friendly factor of your rehab therapy clinic, you’re probably enjoying the benefits of greater efficiency, lower energy costs, and of course, the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing your part to save the planet. Those warm-fuzzies are nice, but you might as well get a little public recognition—and possibly some media buzz—for your efforts. How? Well, applying for a green business certification is an excellent place to start. Just as certification in a new therapy technique adds to your value as a rehab therapist, certification as a green therapy clinic increases the value of your business. And with green certification (and the upgrades or renovations associated with the process), there may be additional perks—like government tax credits, breaks, and permits. Just be sure to check with your local tax accountant for specifics.
There are currently upwards of 400 third-party green certifications available to US businesses, and that number will only grow as the eco-movement becomes increasingly popular. With so many ways to get a piece of the action, it’s hard to know where to begin. Many certification programs charge a fee, so it’s important to do your research before you jump into anything. Today’s marketplace is rife with scammers looking to swindle you out of your hard-earned dollars, and according to business writer David Koeppel, the green certification business is not immune to this problem. Avoid wasting precious time and money obtaining a false seal of approval; look for certification organizations with high standards and plenty of credibility. Here are some examples of respected green certifications that would apply in a rehab therapy setting:
- When it comes to green building initiatives, the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program is pretty much the gold standard. The verification process is rigorous, but earning LEED certification for your facility is more than just a feather in your hat—it’s a testament to your success as a leader, an innovator, and a responsible member of society. LEED employs a point-based system that applies to new construction as well as existing structures. Facilities earn points for things like using sustainable materials, promoting energy efficiency and water savings, and fostering healthy indoor air quality. Need some inspiration? Check out this LEED-certified veterinary clinic and this Greenville, Wisconsin medical clinic that became LEED certified for, among other things, installing an outdoor retention pond to collect and filter rainwater.
- The Green Business Alliance’s Greenify program offers individualized certification standards based on your specific business objectives. The idea is that not every business owner will be able to follow every single recommendation—rather, it’s about making the right changes, thus maximizing the fruits of your labor. Check out the Greenify enrollment page for the full scoop.
- You’ve probably heard of Energy Star appliances, but did you know there is such a thing as an Energy Star building? From schools, to supermarkets, to—you guessed it—health and wellness clinics, facilities that earn the Energy Star seal of approval use less energy, are less expensive to operate, and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their less environmentally-friendly counterparts. To qualify for Energy Star designation, a building must score above 75 percent on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) energy performance scale. Yes, getting there will most likely require a decent amount of effort on your part, but remember, from a customer standpoint, the Energy Star logo is recognizable and trustworthy. Posting it on your building gives your clinic a definite one-up on competitors.
- The Uniform Standard for Green Business Certification (GBC) is a third-party accrediting organization serving small businesses in the US and Canada. Its parent organization—The Institute for Green Business Certification (IGBC), which works with larger companies—was a pioneer in the field of green certification. GBC guides participating businesses through the certification process with specific recommendations in categories such as recycling, water conservation, energy conservation, waste reduction, and environmentally-friendly purchasing.
- Don’t forget about state-based opportunities such as the California Green Business Program, which certifies businesses that demonstrate a clear effort to conserve resources and prevent pollution. For example, the Community Institute for Psychotherapy in San Rafael earned certification for installing energy-efficient light sources, keeping electronic records, scaling back on copies, and using recycled toner.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to obtaining green certification for your clinic—these suggestions represent only a handful of what’s out there. Have you looked into—or achieved—green certification for your business? If so, which one?